Seven people and a tortoise, among other pets, were displaced by a duplex fire in downtown Elkton Friday afternoon that also caused one firefighter to have a heart attack and sent another to the hospital.
Shortly after noon, one half of a duplex in the 100 block of Church St. caught fire, bringing fifty firefighters from several nearby jurisdictions to the scene, according to a statement from the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office.
While fighting the fire, a member of the Chesapeake City Volunteer Fire Department went into cardiac arrest, said Elkton Fire Chief Bill McCall. Another firefighter-paramedic on the scene revived him with a defibrillator before he was driven to the hospital.
"He's alive and well," McCall said. "He was actually talking to us a bit before he went off to the hospital."
A second firefighter, from the Singerly Volunteer Fire Department, was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene and also taken to the hospital.
The Singerly firefighter tripped while trying to save a tortoise from one of the homes, dislodging his ventilator and causing him to breath in smoke, McCall said. He is expected to fully recover.
The tortoise was saved from the fire but a pet dog perished. There was more than $100,000 in property damage, he said.
The fire took nearly two hours to bring under control, the statement said. The residents of the two homes are being assisted by the American Red Cross.
Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.
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